Several months ago in November, Booking.com’s recruiter asked me for chat. I couldn’t make the time since I was going to attend an onsite interview in the US (which was cancelled because of work visa sponsorship. Thanks Trump). After that, I was reluctant to contact him again since I didn’t know how to respond. But then, he contacted me and we scheduled a phone chat. The chat was about general stuff- your motivation to work there, how much do you know about the company, etc. After that, he said the chat was positive and they’re going to proceed with technical phone interview. 😀
The idea of onsite interview in Amsterdam excited me, and I nervously did the interview. I personally think it was horrible, I misunderstood the questions. I told Amsterdam a goodbye and started tracking the Jakarta-Amsterdam flight ticket price on Hopper so I can go there by myself =) But luckily… They called me days later, telling me that they’d like to invite me for onsite interview in Amsterdam!
It was in late December. They scheduled the interview on January 25th. I asked them for earlier date, but they said the only other available date is January 6th, which they were afraid my visa wouldn’t be completed yet. Since The Netherlands is a part of Schengen countries, the visa I needed to make was Schengen business visa.
I arrived in Amsterdam in the early morning. Booking.com booked me a room from the night before, so, I got the hotel breakfast. There was an “Ossenworst” which literally means “beef sausage”. What could go wrong, right?!
Turns out it is a raw. beef. sausage.
Yes, it is actually eaten raw. It’s not like I didn’t cook it or what.
EW. Good: I thought it was quite good. Bad: I couldn’t stop thinking about how unhygienic it could be.
I was laaaaaaaazy. I got jetlag. Bonus: I haven’t studied for system design interview and I’ve never been doing one. There are still 2 days to go but I went crazy. Spoiler: Despite being crazy, it didn’t make me go study diligently. I went to Bloemenmarkt and Albert Heijn instead in the late afternoon. Bloemenmarkt means “Flower Market”. Anyway, Albert Heijn is a supermarket chain, not some kind of tourist place. I have a love for visiting supermarket in foreign country to see what locals eat.
Amsterdam is sure crazy. At Bloemenmarkt, other than the obvious tulip bulbs and some other souvenirs, there are so many cannabis seeds! Cannabis starter pack, etc… I was tempted to bring one but I suddenly remember that I was going to graduate in 2 weeks and that I’m still 20 which I might could live for another max 80 years and that Indonesia sentences people who brought narcotics to death. Slightly better but not much, the souvenir shops there also sell kinky souvenirs. Oops, while the sex shop was just 100m away .__. As a good Indonesian citizen, I bought stroopwaffels instead of cannabis as souvenirs. Turns out stroopwaffel might be laced with weed since it is sooo good! Well I don’t know what weed tastes like, so this is kinda invalid. But you get the idea. It’s heaaaven.
The next day, Kak Raja, my senior in uni who’s currently studying there, offered me to walk around. Surprise surprise, Mahdi, a student that I taught in uni moved to Amsterdam and he was there too. Not knowing where to go, I became a tourist and we went to Rijksmuseum. Be touristy with taking a picture with the I Amsterdam letters!
It was late in afternoon when we visited Rijksmuseum, so I couldn’t see all of them 🙁 Something that I found unique is that they have a section which looked like a “hey those are the displays from the countries that we colonized”, mainly Suriname and Indonesia. Remember that Indonesia was colonized for 350 years… Guess what the display below is made of!
Bread dough! 😀
We went to the infamous Red Light District in the night. What did we do there..? Just having a dinner, of course. We’re a goody good human being… 🙂 But you simply can’t unseen what you have seen there.
I became YOLO despite having interview the next day in the morning. After taking a deep breath and had breakfast, I went to Booking.com office. But turns out I went to the wrong office, duh! 🙁 Luckily I still got time and went to the ‘right’ office instead. So glad that it was in walking distance :’)
And the interview begins! There were 3 parts of interview, 1 general algorithm and data structure interview, 1 system design interview, and 1 some kind of what do you call it I don’t know it might be behavioral interview. I was surprised that the interviewers came from different countries! They’re all nice too, and overall I enjoyed the interview.
The interview was finished early at 1AM. So, I got plenty of time to walk around before going home the next day. Kak Raja couldn’t accompany us, so I went just with Mahdi instead. I should say it was quite an adventure. We ate raw herring. Well, it was just me. He didn’t eat the raw herring and ate the smoked one instead. Some people hate the idea of “raw herring” but hey, sushi is raw too!
Next, we went to Body Worlds museum. It was scary despite the “Happiness Project” theme it held. But what is the scariest thing? All of the displays are from real humans! x_x It was plastinated, I was so fascinated that I Googled it. Too bad taking pictures is prohibited. 🙁
Several meters from the Body Worlds, there is a Sexmuseum. Yes, you heard it right. We went there. *silence*. But hey the entrance ticket is cheap! And the ticketing clerk was Raisa’s uncle. Yeah, that Raisa. He told us so and showed us their picture. OK -_-
What I can say is the museum is dirty it’s funny. “WTF” is the best phrase to describe the museum. Do you know “Rumah Boneka” at Dufan (Dunia Fantasi) amusement park? Some displays are like that. With animatronics. Weird animatronics, some cringe-worthy, and some… scary. Spoiler: several displays are equipped with sensors that will scare the s**t out of you. Glad that I didn’t die of heart attack there. I haven’t paid my BPJS (a national health insurance) fee for a while. I recommend you to visit this museum if you’re looking for a laugh.
My phone was on silent mode and turned out my recruiter called me, and emailed asking me if I can go to the office. OMG what happened, I didn’t have any data plan so I read that at 9PM x_x He scheduled for meeting the next morning.
They offered me the job! 😀
I was glad, but I was hesitant since actually my Google recruiter called me the next day after Booking.com invited me for onsite interview that I passed all the reviews, but still finding a team for me in Sydney. So, I asked Booking.com for some time to think.
The next week, they called me to ask me about the offer, and I negotiated. That was my first time negotiating :-O Am I an adult now OMG. They responded so quickly. They raised my salary offer, and increased the relocation bonus much, much bigger! But still, I am waiting for Google’s location decision. I was intrigued, especially after my Google recruiter emailed me that “we might offer you a position in Sydney in a couple of months but Singapore could give you quicker offer”. Couple of months… of… unemployment… actually sounds good. (doh. No. Yes. No. Yes. Uh). But the next day she said that they’d like to give me offer in Google Sydney, and it was a really good offer that I accepted it shortly after.
It is sad that I need to decline Booking.com’s offer. The interview process was really nice overall. Amsterdam also seems to be a good, crazy place to live in. I wish the best for Booking.com. And for you readers, don’t hesitate to apply there, it might be your next career path! 😀